Sept. 12, 1944: A dead-heat for win and show occurred in the eighth race at Hawthorne.
Sept. 12, 1970: Nijinsky II won the St. Leger Stakes and became the 15th winner of England’s triple crown. He is the last horse to have won the English triple.
Sept. 12, 1973: Fully recovered from a virus that had beset him at Saratoga, Secretariat worked five furlongs in :57 as his last preparation for the Marlboro Cup Invitational Handicap.
Sept. 12, 2000: A colt by Storm Cat was purchased for $6.8 million at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale. It was the highest price paid for a yearling since 1985.
Sept. 13, 1974: D. Wayne Lukas won his first Thoroughbred stakes victory, saddling his own three-year-old colt, Harbor Hauler, in the second division of the Foothill Stakes at Pomona to earn $6,312.
Sept. 13, 1989: Jockey Pat Day won eight of the day’s nine races at Arlington International Racecourse. In his only loss, Day finished second on Wayne’s by George.
Sept. 14, 1853: West Australian won the St. Leger Stakes by three lengths and became England’s first Triple Crown winner.
Sept. 14, 1959: The new $32 million Aqueduct, operated by the New York Racing Association, opened.
Sept. 14, 2001: The National Thoroughbred Racing Association and Breeders’ Cup Limited announced the formation of the NTRA Charities – New York Heroes Fund to benefit the children and spouses of the firefighters, police officers, emergency workers and other victims who perished in the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center. The organizations also dedicated the Oct. 27 Breeders’ Cup World Thoroughbred Championships, to be run at Belmont Park to the memory of those slain and their survivors.
Sept. 15, 1876: Isaac Murphy, one of the nation’s greatest black jockeys, had his first career win, aboard Glentina, at the Kentucky Association meet in Lexington. Then known as Isaac Burns, Murphy later adopted the surname of his grandfather.
Sept. 15, 1973: Secretariat won the Marlboro Cup Invitational Handicap in the then-world record time of 1:45 2/5 for 1 1/8 miles. He defeated his stablemate, Riva Ridge, by 3 1/2 lengths. The winner’s share of the purse, $150,000, made Secretariat a millionaire.
Sept. 15, 2001: Jockey Russell Baze, the fourth winningest rider in history behind only Laffit Pincay Jr., Bill Shoemaker and Pat Day, registered his 7,500th career victory after piloting Valid Double to victory in the third race at Bay Meadows racetrack in San Mateo, Calif.
Sept. 16, 1972: Sent off at odds of 1-5, Secretariat won the Futurity Stakes at Belmont Park by 1 3/4 lengths, creating a minus show pool at the track of $4,985.
Sept. 16, 1978: For the first time in history, two Triple Crown winners met in a race, the Marlboro Cup at Belmont Park. Seattle Slew, the 1977 Triple Crown winner, defeated Affirmed, the 1978 Triple Crown winner, by three lengths.
Sept. 16, 1991: Jockey Jose Santos won his 2,000th career victory, aboard Sunny Sara at Belmont Park.
Sept. 16, 2000: Keeneland successfully executed the Thoroughbred industry’s first-ever Internet auction, selling four horses on-line for a total of $109,500. There were more than 200 buyers and agents registered to bid.
Sept. 17, 1973: Penny Chenery announced that Secretariat would make his inaugural start on the turf in the Oct. 8 Man o’ War Stakes at Belmont Park.
Sept. 18, 1920: Carrying the top weight of his career, 138 pounds, three-year-old Man o’ War won the Potomac Handicap, conceding 24 pounds to his nearest rival, Paul Jones, and 30 pounds to the second-place finisher, Wildair.
Sept. 18, 1943: The U.S. Army occupied the grounds of Hollywood Park as part of the war effort.
Sept. 18, 1999: Jockey David Gall retired as the fourth winningest rider of all time with 7,396 victories to his credit.
Sept. 19, 1943: Rider Eddie Arcaro returned to racing after a 12-month suspension that resulted from his attempt to injure a fellow rider in the Cowdin Stakes the previous year.
Sept. 19, 1942: Alsab, runner-up in the 1942 Kentucky Derby, beat 3-10 favorite Whirlaway, the 1941 Triple Crown champion, by a nose in a $25,000 match race at Narragansett Park. The match was arranged after Alsab was scratched from the Narragansett Special, a race won by Whirlaway one week earlier. Narragansett’s president, James Dooley, offered to contribute the track’s share of the mutuel handle, plus breakage, to the Army and Navy Relief Funds, making attendance at the race a patriotic gesture. Alsab and Whirlaway met twice more that year, with Whirlaway winning the Jockey Club Gold Cup on Oct. 3, and Alsab besting him in the New York Handicap on Oct. 10.
Sept. 19, 1997: Chelsea Zupan set an Emerald Downs record by winning seven consecutive races at the Auburn, Wash. oval. Zupan won four on September 18th and three on September 19th. The feat was a national record for consecutive victories by a female rider.
Sept. 20, 1965: Jockey Jorge Velasquez made his American racing debut, riding for owner Fred W. Hooper, at Atlantic City Racecourse. He won with his first mount, aboard Keypoint, in the sixth race, at 8-1 odds.
Sept. 20, 1976: Two-year-old Seattle Slew made his racing debut, winning a six furlong maiden race by five lengths at Belmont Park. His zesty workouts prior to the race made Seattle Slew the 2-1 favorite and he was the public’s choice in both his subsequent races that year. After only three starts (including the Champagne Stakes) in the space of 27 days, Seattle Slew was voted champion two-year-old colt for 1976.
Sept. 20, 1980: Before a crowd of 23,000 spectators, four-year-old Spectacular Bid won the Woodward Stakes in the world’s richest walkover. To the surprise of trainer Bud Delp and owners Harry, Teresa and Tom Meyerhoff, “Bid” was awarded only $73,300, which was half of the winner’s share of the purse, but all that was allowable under the track’s rules. There had not been a walkover in a major U.S. stakes race since Coaltown won the Edward Burke Handicap on April 23, 1949.
Sept. 20, 1999: Storm Cat’s stud fee was raised from $200,000 to $300,000.
Sept. 20, 2001: Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, Dubai’s Crown Prince and Defense Minister of the United Arab Emirates, donated $5 million to a disaster relief fund, established by Keeneland, to assist those affected by the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11.
Sept. 20, 2001: Leading breeder Harry T. Mangurian, Jr., pledged $1 million to the National Thoroughbred Racing Association-New York Heroes Fund.
Sept. 20, 2001: Penske Auto Centers entered into a marketing agreement with the National Thoroughbred Racing Association and Breeders’ Cup, giving the company entitlement rights to the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Sprint.
Sept. 21, 1938: A hurricane disrupted racing at Rockingham Park, which ended the day’s program after the sixth race. Thirteen barns were destroyed during the storm.
Sept. 21, 1940: For the first time in the history of photo finishes a triple dead heat for first place was recorded, at Willow’s Park, Victoria, British Columbia.
Sept. 21, 1973: Secretariat had his first workout on a turf course, going a half-mile in :48 3/5 at Belmont Park.
Sept. 22, 1988: Stuart Symington Janney Jr., owner of Ruffian, died at age 81.
Sept. 22, 1996: Larry Ross trained the top four finishers in a seven- horse field for the Washington HBPA Stakes at Emerald Downs.
Sept. 23, 1998: Clay Puett, who invented the electric starting gate more than 60 years ago, died at age 99.
Sept. 23, 2000: The 13-day Keeneland September Sale concluded with gross sales of $291,827,100, topping the previous mark of $233,020,800 set in 1999.
Sept. 23, 2001: The Keeneland September Yearling Sale, interrupted by the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, D.C., and conducted during a climate of global economic uncertainty, ended with the second highest gross and average receipts in its history.
Sept. 24, 1943: The Jockey Club announced the creation of The Jockey Club Foundation, which was established to aid indigent members of the racing community.
Sept. 25, 1866: Jerome Park, named for its founder, Leonard W. Jerome, opened in the Bronx, N.Y. The track was a magnet for New York’s fashionable society, and the first to attract women in large numbers. Even the racehorses were fashionable, with ribbons of their owners’ colors braided into their manes and tails. Jerome, seeking to emulate the British racing system, also established the American Jockey Club, precursor to the present Jockey Club, formed in 1894.
Sept. 25, 1948: Fans at Atlantic City Racecourse filed onto the track after the 3-2 favorite in the fourth race, Even Break, dwelt in the starting gate as the race went off. A total of $71,414 was refunded to the angry crowd of bettors.